India targets one million UK travellers

Vinod Zutshi addresses reporters at the WTM
Vinod Zutshi addresses reporters at the WTM

India is aiming to attract one million arrivals from the UK by 2020, a senior industry official told delegates at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London this week.

Vinod Zutshi, Secretary at India’s Ministry of Tourism, announced the target at a press conference at the WTM. This would mark a 19% increase from the 838,860 UK travellers who visited India in 2014.

Measures being taken to achieve this target include the launch of India’s electronic tourist visa scheme, which was expanded to include UK travellers earlier this year. Plans are also in place to extend the e-visa’s validity from 30 to 180 days in 2016.

“We are committed to make it easy for travellers wanting to come to India, not least through our e-visa scheme but by improving air connectivity between the UK and India,” said Zutshi. “We aim to attract more visitors through the promotion and development of our niche tourism experiences such as adventure, wellness, golf, pilgrimage and the “Paradise Unexplored” northeast.

“In addition, we are working to improve the infrastructure at many of our beach destinations,” he added.

To broaden India’s appeal as an all-year-round destination, Zutshi also announced the creation of a new Medical Tourism Board and Golf Promotion Committee, which are charged with developing infrastructure and promoting their respective sectors.

2015 marked India’s largest-ever WTM delegation, which included representatives from almost all of the country’s states, six state tourism ministers and more than 50 private and public organisations.

India welcomed a total of 7.68 million international visitors in 2014, up 10.2% year-on-year, with UK arrivals increasing 3.8% to 838,860.

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